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“Reducing Summer Learning Loss: Implementing Successful Programs”. A joint webinar presented by The Wallace Foundation and the National League of Cities November 4, 2009. AGENDA Welcome – Dara Rose, The Wallace Foundation Introduction – Bela Shah Spooner, National League of Cities

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“Reducing Summer Learning Loss: Implementing Successful Programs”

A joint webinar presented by

The Wallace Foundation and the National League of Cities

November 4, 2009



Welcome – Dara Rose, The Wallace Foundation

Introduction – Bela Shah Spooner, National League of Cities


    • Summer Learning Loss
  • Ron Fairchild, National Summer Learning Association
    • Solutions to learning loss; features of effective summer learning programs Mary Terzian,Child Trends
    • Policy & financing landscape - Ron Fairchild

The City Context/Experience:

Sabrina Sutton, Special Assistant to the Mayor for Youth and Education, Baltimore, MD

Maxine Quintana, Director of Student Programs, Mayor’s Office for Education and Children, Denver, CO

Q&A/Comments – Audience

Closing – Bela Shah Spooner

what typically happens to young people during the summer months
What typically happens to young people during the summer months?
  • 39 studies confirm academic losses
  • documented nutritional setbacks
summer learning the achievement gap

Summer Reading

Achievement Trajectories

Middle-Income Students

Low-Income Students











Summer Learning & the Achievement Gap

Average Reading Achievement Level

child trends inc

Summer Learning Programs and Practices: Reviewing the Evidence

November 4, 2009

Child Trends, Inc.

Mary Terzian, Ph.D., M.S.W., Research Scientist

Kristin Moore, Ph.D., Senior Scholar

Katie Hamilton, M.A., Research Analyst

they seek to maintain and increase students academic knowledge and skills also they are
They seek to maintain and increase students’ academic knowledge and skills. Also, they are:



  • Recreational
  • Enriching
  • Relational
  • Voluntary
  • Includestudents of varied skill levels
  • Take place over a full day



Summer Learning Programs: What Does the Evidence Look Like?

The Level of Evidence Depends on the Rigor of the Evaluation Study.

summer learning programs what does the best available evidence tell us
Educational outcomes

Reading achievement gains are possible

Math achievement gains are also possible

Impacts on high school completion look less promising

Career Development Outcomes

Impacts on employment are similarly lacking

Summer Learning Programs: What Does the Best Available Evidence Tell Us?
outcomes with insufficient evidence
Outcomes with Insufficient Evidence


Engagement in post-secondary education

College enrollment

Career Development

Career decision-making skills

Work-related attitudes

Welfare Receipt

Youth Development

Social skills, self concept/self efficacy

Reproductive health


Summer Learning Programs: Promising Practices

Intervention Strategy

Complement group learning with individual support.

Make activities interesting and enjoyable.

Ground lessons or concepts in a real-world context.

Integrate hands-on activities.


Summer Learning Programs: Promising Practices

  • Intervention Content
    • Teach content that complements curricular standards.
  • Staffing and Class Size
    • Hire experienced, trained teachers to deliver the academic lessons.
    • Limit class sizes to 15 or fewer students, with 2-4 teachers per classroom.
additional program improvement strategies
Affordable and Accessible

Offer parents free child care during parent events

Provide food and transportation to participants

Involve the Community

As funders

As volunteers

As recruiters

Involve Parents

In planning activities and in special events

Additional Program Improvement Strategies
in conclusion
In conclusion….

Summer learning programs hold the potential to impact the educational outcomes of disadvantaged children and youth.


When asked “Can states and districts use Recovery Act funds to create and then expand summer learning opportunities for students?”

Secretary Duncan replied: “Not only can states and districts use recovery money to do this, we are asking them to think very, very seriously about doing this. We think this is one of the best investments they could make.”

the federal policy landscape
The Federal Policy Landscape

Primary Areas:

Education, Child Care, Nutrition,

Youth Employment & Service Learning


  • No federal funding dedicated to summer learning
  • Overly broad or extremely narrow
  • Poor tracking & reporting requirements
the state policy landscape
The State Policy Landscape:
  • State & Local resources more significant than Federal
  • 35 states have summer education policies
  • Policies vary widely, but emphasis on remediation and/or gifted and talented programs
  • Poor alignment across agencies
  • Lack of basic data
the local policy landscape
The Local Policy Landscape

Trends across local areas:

  • Schools are largest single provider
  • Parks & recreation offer most coverage
  • Child care vouchers provide modest support
  • Options for older youth are few, focus on summer jobs
  • Spending per youth varies widely
  • Partnership models offer best opportunity for leveraging of funds
strategic opportunities
Strategic Opportunities
  • Use philanthropic investments to leverage public dollars
  • Direct stimulus funds for summer learning
  • Explore summer learning within the reauthorization of ESEA
  • Support new and innovative federal and state policies
  • Invest in data collection
  • Create a New Vision for Summer School
Baltimore CitySummer Learning Sabrina Sutton Special Assistant to the Mayor for Youth and Education, Baltimore, MD
reducing summer learning loss implementing successful programs

Reducing Summer Learning Loss:Implementing Successful Programs

Denver’s Story

Maxine Quintana

Mayor’s Office for Education & Children

The Wallace Foundation/National League of Cities Webinar

denver s approach
Denver’s Approach

Leverage partnerships to deliver a variety of QUALITY programs throughout the City and create ACCESS for low-income families.

city led initiatives
City Led Initiatives
  • Parks & Recreation
    • Summer in the Parks/sports programs – fee based
    • Swimming pools are free to all youth
    • Summer Scholars – Provide enrichment for 6 week program in partnership with CBO focused on advancing literacy -- evaluation results demonstrate a positive impact on reading achievement
  • Denver Public Library – Summer Reading program
  • Workforce Development – Summer Youth Employment
  • Mayor’s Office for Education & Children
    • The 5 By 5 Project – provides Head Start families with free year-round access and educational opportunities to 12 of Denver’s cultural venues to support parents as first teachers
  • Youth Link/GIS Mapping
    • City-wide afterschool/summer directory for families
district led initiatives
District Led Initiatives
  • English Language Acquisition Academy
    • 4 week program, serving 1,600+ English language learners in 3rd and 4th grade
    • Focus on building language development, includes literacy and math instruction and daily enrichment activities
    • 60% growth in linguistic levels
  • 6th & 9th Grade Academies
    • 2 week program, serving 3,000+ students
    • Focus on transition and building literacy, math, and resiliency skills
    • Evaluation data indicates participation is positively impacting engagement, attendance and grades throughout the school year
cbo led initiative
CBO Led Initiative
  • Denver CAMP(Collaboration Among Many Partners)
    • Innovative collaboration with over 30 community-based partners from DQUAC contributing in-kind program services
    • Joint management with the City, School District, and CBOs
    • Focused on providing academic enrichment programs, physical fitness, arts, technology, life skills and more
    • Expanded to two sites, serving 400 low-income students with free quality programming
    • Replicated in two other Colorado counties
contact information

Bela Shah Spooner

Principal Associate, Afterschool Initiatives

Institute for Youth, Education, and Families

National League of Cities


Ron FairchildChief Executive Officer National Summer Learning Association


Maxine Quintana

Director of Student Programs

Mayor’s Office for Education and Children – Denver


Sabrina Sutton

Special Assistant for Youth/Education

Office of Mayor Sheila Dixon – Baltimore


Dara Rose

Senior Program Officer

The Wallace Foundation


Mary A. Terzian, Ph.D., M.S.W.

Research Scientist

Child Trends



Thank you for joining us.

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Also, Visit the our website for two new publications on related subjects: